Come to Our Mobile Observatory Open House, April 10th, at the Mission Viejo Library!

Bring the whole family for a free afternoon of fun and educational activities!

Science Heads Inc. and the Mission Viejo Library are celebrating National Library Week with Free Science Activities.

The afternoon will begin at 12 noon with a ribbon cutting event for Science Heads’ new Mobile Astronomical Observatory. The observatory will then be open to the public from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

A map is available on the event’s Yelp page.

Free activities include:

  • Safe Solar Viewing using the observatory’s specialized solar telescope
  • Explore the Solar System with NASA Interactive 3D Software
  • Fun science related activities for both children and adults

This event is appropriate for children 4 years and older and adults.

The Mobile Observatory was a hit in our first outing, at Lake Forest Elementary
The Mobile Observatory was a hit in our first outing, at Lake Forest Elementary

Rancho Cañada Elementary Science Night 2017!

It was overcast, so we didn’t get to do any stargazing, but we still had a great time with crafts and hands-on activities in the Astronomy room.

Our handouts for the night were our updated “Meteor Showers of 2017”, “How Do Telescopes Work?”, and two on eclipses:

 

Mobile Observatory Project Progress!

We’ve been busy building a mobile observatory out of a humble trailer. We had already cut a hole in the roof, and mounted a ring for the dome. Now it was time to clean the dome and prepare it for attaching to the top of the trailer.

Pieces of the observatory dome being cleaned
Pieces of the observatory dome being cleaned
Dome pieces ready for mounting on the trailer
Dome pieces ready for mounting on the trailer

We ended up needing more hardware for the project, and with the afternoon winding down, we packed everything up for the night. The assembly crew reconvened a few days later to continue the work. As you can see below, we were able to get the dome fully installed and working great!

Richard refers to this as 'climbing Half-Dome'
Richard refers to this as ‘climbing Half-Dome’
ichard and Barton work on attaching the shutter doors
ichard and Barton work on attaching the shutter doors
Completed dome in twilight
Completed dome in twilight
Venus makes an appearance over the dome
Venus makes an appearance over the dome

Since then, Richard has been working on the electrical wiring, and work on the telescope pier has been progressing. Stay tuned for future updates, and more pictures are available on Richard’s Bellcroft Observatory page.

Rancho Cañada Elementary Science Night 2016

The Moon was about 90% full

Was a blast! Amy brought a tub full of flour and some balls to be our model impactors.

Students gathered around the meteor impact display
Students gathered around the meteor impact display
Our crater-making arena, a tub half-full of flour
Our crater-making arena, a tub half-full of flour
Impact!
Impact!
Aftermath! Many different sizes and shapes of craters
Aftermath! Many different sizes and shapes of craters

The rest of the Science Heads crew operated the telescopes, viewing the Moon, Jupiter, the Pleiades, and the Orion Nebula.

Our handout for the night was on the meteor showers of 2016:

Lunar Eclipse in the Orange County Great Park

Moon rising over Saddleback, in eclipse

Informal gathering to watch the lunar eclipse. There was a great turnout, many people in the park to watch the moon rise in eclipse.

Eclipsed moon over the Great Park balloon ride
Eclipsed moon over the Great Park balloon ride
A picture of the fully eclipsed moon from an earlier lunar eclipse, in 2014
A picture of the fully eclipsed moon from an earlier lunar eclipse, in 2014